What to buy for our first new media lab?

Hey everyone, I’m an undergrad in Nebraska, USA looking to bring a little new media love to the great plains scene out here and am seeking a grant to get a nice bundle of cash to spend on starting up a media lab!

I’m aiming to create a group of students and faculty for both our CS department (which I’m a student of) and our Fine Arts dept to create projects and learn about new media technology and just have fun. I am building a multi-touch table with some CS students and want to know what you think about what other things would be good for introducing a wide range of new media technology to people.

I’m currently planning to get:
5 - Arduinos (of course!)
5 - Joystick shield (very cheap and quick fun for newbies)
3 - MSI Wind laptops for computer vision and audio work
3 - Wii Remotes for wireless controller work

I’m not looking to introduce people to gritty electronics or anything too tough, just easy to grasp and easy to expand artistic technology. Does anyone else have any suggestions for things to buy for this budding group of hackers and makers?

quick n dirty multitouch needs webcams!

might want some communications for the arudino, but serial and some wire can do basic stuff

speaking of wire, get a big spool of multicolored stuff (like Ethernet)

maybe some ldr’s (photoresistors) switches, buttons, potentiometers and whatnot

projector would be nice, or at least a large tv, maybe some small speakers (netbooks and arduinos are not very loud)

and maybe solder wires on everything so people can just grab a part and go experiment

Good ideas, thanks. I definitely need to throw in some webcams and a couple projectors, very important!

I forgot to mention that I will be ordering these Arduino starter kits from Sparkfun, which include some basic fun sensors and wire bundles. We should be covered on the electronics front!

Software wise I will loading such wonderful free apps as Processing, openframeworks and vvvv for people to mess with. Because this is not a class (yet) and no one around here is probably qualified to teach in a workshop format for this kind of work I won’t be looking to teach people everything they need to know but rather give art students and CS students materials to pursue wild and fun projects.

Some XBees and shields to support wireless communications would be good.

Some servos and motors (stepper and regular), and a motor shield (or more than one) would help demonstrate the mechanical capabilities of the Arduino.

LCDs for small amounts of output are great.

Maybe an RTC (real time clock) or two…

and maybe solder wires on everything so people can just grab a part and go experiment

Good idea. And, to make those pre-wired parts easier to use, get a bunch of Screwshields so people can build their setups away from the Arduinos and have them ready when they get their turns in the lab. Maybe do a bulk buy, and sell them to students at cost so they can keep their setups built between labs.


Like I said this isn’t going to be so much an electronics lab as a new media lab. I don’t want to make people get into circuits and things like that unless they really want to.

I’m looking to get equipment that will facilitate work like multi-touch surface interaction, projection mapping, hard and soft MIDI interfaces, kinetic sculptures and so on. Not many people know enough about electronics to solder and find joy in just making circuits and I’m not really looking to teach it (I don’t know enough about it myself, its kind of an expensive hobby :S)

Anyone smell some spam… I hate sites like that. >:(

Well, someone mentioned “buying” and “Arduino” in the same post, so along comes the spammers robot to spam the forum.

I’d certainly find a more useful site in India to buy my Arduino from, if I lived there. A certain productive, useful member of the forum comes to mind.

And, if I didn’t live there, I can’t imagine why I’d want to order one from India anyway.

The worst thing is they are actually a sparkfun distributer :frowning:

The worst thing is they are actually a sparkfun distributer

No. The worst thing is that they are an Arduino distributor. Piss on Sparkfun.